Dealing with traditional backup and recovery challenges

In the data-driven business, access to data is everything. Protecting against loss is a strategic priority – and yet many businesses are still reliant on 30-year-old concepts and processes.

Some of the backup and recovery challenges that we have learned to live with over the years are now becoming untenable.

Here are some of the issues you need to consider – and address – as your digital transformation efforts gather pace.

1. Infrastructure complexity

The rapid evolution of your data estate has created an infrastructure that is complex to maintain – and even harder to backup. In the age of hybrid computing, you could be using any combination of technologies and applications, from tape autoloaders to tiered storage arrays with multiple backup targets.

This is an administrative nightmare – and a significant risk to your operations in the event of a disaster recovery event.

2. Tool complexity

This complicated infrastructure typically requires multiple applications to meet your backup goals. Disaster recovery, system-level backup, file-level backup and long-term archiving – all essential functions, each with its own toolset, tailored to your disaster recovery objectives.

If you’re lucky, these apps will integrate neatly. In reality, you’re facing another administrative nightmare.

3. Unacceptably long backup windows

The corporate data estate is growing exponentially – unlike your backup windows. Backup jobs are typically run after hours to limit their impact on system resources. Eventually, however, there is too much data to copy in the allotted time – and that’s before you consider the I/O limitations of your network and backup hardware. Or the various backup checkpoints speed across your VMs.

Eventually, overlapping backup windows and unclear checkpoints will bring the whole system into doubt – can you trust your backups are accurate and complete?

4. Unacceptably long recovery windows

If saving data to backup is slow, recovery is just as problematic. Pulling data back from an archive is also limited by the I/O performance of your hardware and network. And there’s a very good chance you will be trying to recover data during working hours when there is additional load on your servers, slowing operations further still.

5. Outdated RPOs and RTOs

The size of your backup sets coupled with the physical limitations of the hardware means that RPOs and RTOs are commonly quoted in days. Waiting days to successfully complete a backup/recovery operation is simply unacceptable – and unsustainable – when dealing with mission-critical applications.

6. Outdated technologies

Periodic daily backups are only used for secondary systems that are rarely used. Incremental snapshots and array-based replication are a far safer option, allowing you to backup regularly throughout the day and narrowing the window during which data may be lost.

However, these developments are still insufficient for your line-of-business applications that are updated many thousands of times each hour. Every gap between snapshots is an opportunity for data to be lost.

A glimpse of the future – continuous backups

Ultimately, the success of any backup and recovery strategy is the speed at which you can resume operations. To help bring narrow that timeframe, we now have continuous data protection (CDP). CDP uses software-based replication to capture every data modification, copying it to a target repository.

CDP is an ideal solution for disaster recovery; replicating data to the cloud allows your business to resume operations in a matter of minutes – from anywhere in the world.

To discuss your backup and recovery challenges and learn more about overcoming the limitations of legacy backup and recovery solutions, please get in touch.

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